How to Get the Most from Your Home Office According to Forbes, in the United States, there are close to 28 million small businesses—52 per cent of which are based in people’s homes. Because of the freedom and independence it offers, more and more Americans are turning to self-employment, and working from home just seems like a natural choice to help reduce overhead costs—after all, why pay rent on an office when you’re already paying for a living space? It just makes good sense.
But there are challenges when it comes to running a home business, and chief among them is fostering the same degree of productivity that you’d find in a traditional office. While it’s certainly very possible to be successful working from home, you have to work hard, and you have to work smart. Here are some of the best ways to boost your productivity in your home office:
Separate Your “Work” Space from Your “Living” Space
One of the biggest challenges owners of home businesses face is staying focused on their job during the allotted time. If you work in the space you share with your family, it can be incredibly tempting to spend time with them. Even if you live alone, everything from chores to entertainment can become a potential distraction. And while yes, it may be immensely satisfying to binge The Office on Netflix for the forty-seventh time, it’s not going to help you reach your long-term goals if you do it during working hours. You must create a distinct separation between home life and work, and the best way to do this is to set up a designated workspace within your home—in a spare room, in the basement, in the garage; it can be anywhere, so long as it is conducive to productivity. Keep this area clean, and only give it what it needs to get the job done.
2. Be Aware of Comfort and Ergonomics
Something that is so often overlooked in the home office is, incidentally, a common complaint of traditional offices: that it’s just not comfortable enough. A chair without proper support, a desk so short you have to stop to work, craning your neck to see your monitor — these are all things that can lead to pain, fatigue, and repetitive stress injuries. Comfort at work isn’t just a luxury, but rather an asset that helps you keep your focus where it belongs. Invest in a good chair. Make sure your desk is set up so that it promotes you to use a comfortable posture. And place the tools you use within comfortable reach so you’re not wasting time getting up constantly.
3. Dress for Work
This is more of a psychological trick, but one that many people swear by. It can be difficult to keep work and home life separate when they exist in the same building. By dressing for work, you’re telling yourself that it’s time to get down to business — and inversely, you can easily shut off by changing again at the end of the day. Whether it’s business casual attire or even just a special “work” outfit (some people even choose a jumpsuit for this purpose), this is a trick worth trying on for size.
4. Change the Scene
Just because you have a home business, doesn’t mean you’re restricted to working from home. As long as you can still document your effort and time spent on a mobile app, you can work from anywhere. Some days you may find yourself having a mental block, and a great way to get out of it is a change of atmosphere. Grab your laptop and some headphones and head to Starbucks or another local coffee shop. Go to the library, or a park (if you don’t need Wi-Fi), or anywhere where you think you’ll be empowered to be productive. Don’t be afraid to go mobile, and when you do return to your regular workspace, you may find yourself refreshed.
5. Never Neglect Your Personal Life
Maintaining a balance between work and your personal life is important, and if you let the latter slide, the former may come tumbling down with it. The first step is creating (and respecting) clear boundaries between the two. Setting up a dedicated space and having some kind of uniform help in this department, but it doesn’t stop there. Taking care of yourself and your needs during your personal time can go a long way, too. Get some exercise, eat well, read that book you’ve been talking about wanting to read, spend time with family and friends, go out and dance, get plenty of sleep; what matters is that you don’t let work take over your life, because nothing kills your passion for the job more than burning out too quickly.
Working from home can be incredibly challenging, but when it works out just right, it’s also incredibly rewarding. When you work smart, you can boost your productivity, and get amazing results.
This post originally appeared on ClickTime.”
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Michelle Kiss is a digital marketing specialist in San Francisco who focuses on employee productivity, business process management, and marketing automation. She deeply believes that a balanced diet is chocolate in both hands.